VIDEO: B.C. woodcarver’s famous house destroyed by fire

Rolf Heer of Radium lost the Home of a Thousand Faces

The iconic home of a famed woodcarver in B.C.’s East Kootenay has been destroyed by fire.

Rolf Heer, in the community of Radium north of Invermere, was pulled safely out the Home of a Thousand Faces, as firefighters tried to fight off the encroaching flames.

The all-wood home has become a roadside attraction, surrounded by several life-sized wood carvings – many of them done with a chainsaw. It was even featured on an episode of the HGTV show, “Weird Homes.”

Heer suffers from terminal cancer and had put the home up for sale.

READ MORE: Woodcarver is as iconic as mountain sheep and hot springs

“Forty years of history down the drain,” he said, shivering in a fuzzy pink housecoat. “I don’t know how I’m going to handle this. I might be crying for three weeks.”

He said he had a fire outside the night before that must have gotten out of control.

Gary and Sherry Froescul of Sherwood Park, Alta., had driven past the home on Friday morning and noticed the flames. They drove to a Petro-Canada gas station where one of the employees called 911.

“Within five or 10 minutes, the whole thing was engulfed,” Gary said.

Heer lived in his showroom. For 40 years, he had welcomed residents and tourists into his home to see his wood carvings, play in his outdoor water park and feed the goats that lived on his roof.

Said Heer’s friend, Holly Hahn: “There was nothing like this in the world. I’m sad for all the children who used to come here.”

All that saved were a few paintings, his robes, a bit of cash and his prized wizard hats.

Heer was hoping to find a woodcarver to take over the business. He had no insurance.

He alternated between laughing and choking up as neighbours, friends, police and firefighters expressed their condolences, doled out hugs and brought him food.

But the beloved wizard was all smiles as he asked for a photo to capture the end of an era, going out with a blaze.

 

Firefighters work put out the blaze on what remains of the House of a 1,000 faces. Photo by Dauna Ditson

Just Posted

Cold weather centre to open in Grand Forks

The centre will be open around the clock through to the spring.

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

Grand Forks fire crews respond to ‘abandoned’ house fire

No one was in the home at the time of the fire.

From the Hill: The millstone of a cannabis conviction

Richard Cannings writes about records expungement for cannabis convictions

Tips for avoiding Canada Revenue Agency scams

Grand Forks RCMP are asking residents to be vigilant.

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Most Read